Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Leading green - podcast

Dave Bookless of A Rocha rejects the notion that 'green issues' are an optional add-on for middle-class congregations.
Speaking exclusively to CL, Dave enthuses about the missionary mandate for 'green leadership', and takes us back to God's Genesis plan for humanity...
Look out for Dave's article 'Leading Green' in CL73 (October 2010).

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Fit for purpose

Coolly bespectacled Dr Graham Tomlin is the Director of London's St Mellitus College and an enthusiastic promoter of a pro-active approach to spiritual health - for all.

Here's a recent podcast interview with Graham in which he rehearses some of his key tips for spiritiual health - and reveals the identity of the college's patron saint.

And don't forget this is just one of whole series of leadership podcasts on the CPAS site.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

A bit of a ding-dong?

Weddings? Don't you love them, those heartwarming family occasions celebrating all that's wonderful about lifelong commitment in marriage?

Or has this particular rite of passage been subverted and corrupted by today's consumer culture?

Well that's the view of the Rev Canon Dr Giles Fraser, expressed in a recent BBC Radio 4 Thought for the Day, causing quite a few ripples of controversy.

Here's a link to the BBC website essay on the topic.

What's your experience of weddings in your church?

Have they become flashier and trashier in recent years? (Current surveys indicate an average wedding spend of £20,000.)

And, if they have, should we be encouraging the happy couples (and their famiies) to take a simpler, greener, gentler approach to tying the knot?

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


Hapless inner-city incumbent Adam Smallbone (Tom Hollander) is, possibly, today's most-discussed British church leader.

BBC2's new comedy series Rev. came to an end this week, having attracted audiences of up to 2 million.

'Are you watching Rev.?' has become a regular opening line beside the CPAS water-cooler. And it seems that quite a lot of us have been, with varying degrees of approval and identification.

Colleagues with backgrounds in parish ministry seem to recognise the Smallbones' exhausting experience of all-hours bell-ringing (at the vicarage door, not in the belfry), accompanied by frequently bizarre requests for help, food, coffee and cash.

Ditto the surge of new worshippers following news of a good Ofsted report at the church school.

A friend who's a Venerable assures me his management style is almost as terrifying as that of the show's vulpine Archdeacon Robert. I'm hoping his tongue was in his cheek.

At the heart of the show is the crumpled figure of Adam, struggling to find his way through a maze of responsibilities and temptations.

Interestingly, scriptwriter James Wood is at pains to emphasise Adam's sense of having been called by God to a role that, in human terms, is nigh on impossible...

So, to which segment of the CPAS 'leadership doughnut', should we be directing Adam's attention?

Any ideas?
Or does he simply need a week at New Wine? Therapy? A new Arcdeacon?

Meanwhile (on the Archdeacon's orders) I've offered Adam a complimentary subscription to Church Leadership - and am hoping he'll be back with Series 2 before long.
Meanwhile in the holy blogosphere. This blogger seems to approve of Rev. and this one certainly doesn't.
And click here for the best commentary I've seen thus far.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Stations of the resurrection - impact

Si Smith's Stations of the Resurrection continue to make an impact following publiaction in Church Leadership 71.

The Baptist Times splashed them onto the front page.

The Yorkshire Post was eager, naturally enough, to feature the news of the resurrection happeing in Leeds.

Biggest coverage of all came from Church Times: five full pages.

That said, the images remain for the exclusive use of CL subscribers and - hurrah! - the recent publicity has prompted numerous new subscriptions.

Please note - all 19 Stations are now available online.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Good to be got at?

Here's a provocative thought for the day from comedian Frank Skinner.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Church isn't man enough?

This week's Church Times includes a provocative piece by Daev Hopwood - on the perennial propblem of the church's 'missing men'. Here's a brief extract...
WORKING at a conference centre, I regularly meet men who are frus­trated by the nature of Sunday church. I hold sessions where I talk honestly about this and give them a chance to tell their stories. I am often asked: how would you do church? I have thought about it a great deal — but I have not been able to come up with an adequate answer.

The very question comes loaded with baggage about the nature of church in general. Gatherings where people sit in rows, sing songs, pray respectable prayers, listen to one person deliver their own thoughts on some aspect of the faith, and engage in celebrating a “feast” which offers only a morsel of bread and a drop of wine: I would not start from here if I were to attempt to redefine church.

I would go back to the Bible with a simple question: how did Jesus teach the men who were following him?

It is a difficult question because Jesus was a man operating in a cul­ture very different to ours today. He was a rabbi, not a vicar. He grew up under oppression in a small Middle Eastern community. The climate, the culture, and the sensibilities of the day were very different. But, I be­lieve, there are still fundamental, timeless lessons that can be learnt from the way Jesus taught the men around him.

I once sat down and worked my way through the first nine chapters of Mark’s Gospel, noting the aspects of Jesus that ap­pealed to me. Here are some of them:
  • Jesus offered his followers a job.

  • He gave them nicknames, and tasks to do.

  • He took them travelling, went home with them, and ate with them.

  • He allowed them to break sabbath laws.

  • He made use of their working skills.

  • He told stories about men and workers, about violence, revenge, danger, and justice.

He showed them that they were part of something, and displayed his power in the con­text of their daily lives.

Jesus made following him risky and chal­lenging, and sent them out on tough assign­ments. Afterwards, he gave them the chance to debrief. He listened to their stories. And he made himself vulnerable.

Daev Hopwood is creative arts director at Lee Abbey.